Headache for Ranger Smith / SAT 4-7-18 / Nestle product first sold in 1961 / Early example of reductio ad absurdum / Country formed by 1964 merger / Corona with tequila fruit juice / Bondn villain Stavro Blofeld

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Constructor: Mark Diehl

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: TETANY (9D: Condition caused by abnormal calcium levels) —
Tetany or tetany seizure is a medical sign consisting of the involuntary contraction of muscles, which may be caused by disease or other conditions that increase the action potential frequency of muscle cells or the nerves that innervate them. Muscle cramps which are caused by the disease tetanus are not classified as tetany; rather, they are due to a lack of inhibition to the neurons that supply muscles. [???] [wikipedia]
• • •

This is why I should never try to solve the Saturday puzzle in the morning. Roll out of bed at 5:30am and come face to face with this? No. Would not willingly relive. Took me > 2x my normal Saturday time, and most of that was spent staring at a grid that wouldn't budge. Repeatedly wouldn't budge. It wasn't just the difficulty that was frustrating; it's that some of the tough clues had such deeply, profoundly unsatisfying answers (MENU PAGES???) and too many of the clues were difficult by means of vagueness. Also names names names. Was pretty sure about Jermaine O'NEAL (2D: Jermaine ___, six-time N.B.A. All-Star of the early 2000s), but a. that's Shaquille's name, and b. I thought maybe O'NEIL, so I left it. No idea on RANKIN (19A: Jeannette ___, first U.S. congressowoman). John of Plymouth Colony is something I should know, but I wanted John ROLFE, which also fit, but which, sadly, was the Wrong Colony. I still barely know who EBAN is, and I have no idea what an "Israel Prize" is, so ??? on 6D: 2001 Israel Prize winner. No idea about TETANY *at all*, and the wikipedia definition ... doesn't help, in that it both does and doesn't establish a relationship to tetanus? Baffling. Why are TANDEMS "big rigs"? Like, the bikes? Are there other TANDEMS? [Fix a flat for?], ugh, so many different wordplays for "flat" (never thought of the music one, only the British apartment one and the shoe one). BEERGARITA = never heard of it in any context ever (17A: Corona with tequila and fruit juice, e.g.). I mean, I seeeeee the portmanteauiness of it all, now, but that answer (and drink, I assume) is barf. Why would you pollute your tequila like that?

Almost every answer was a grind. Got started (finally).in the east with LEGO / ENO / ETON and was never so glad to encounter crosswordese in my life. I thought when I dropped ZENO'S PARADOX I was set (21D: Early example of reductio ad absurdum). But no. That SE corner wouldn't move. At all. Even with the "X" in it. If I hadn't just woken up, Nouvelle RICHE probably would've occurred to me (literally yelled at myself when I finally got it—could think only of filmdom's "Nouvelle VAGUE"). ERNST, forgot it. CNOTE, wanted CSPOT. TRAM ROUTES ... ugh, see MENU PAGES (i.e. Made-Up Phrase, Not A Thing). The killer, though, was DUST PAN. I had DUST MOP—The End. Adjacent letters looked OK, so it took me literally minutes to question it. Pffff. The worst, though, was the SW, where I had -AGES at 31D: They're flipped at diners) and -DICE at 35D: Things that can't be loaded and -CESS at 43A: Spin like a gyroscope, and ... nothing. No Thing. PRECESS? Not a word I've ever seen. FAIR DICE?!?!? That is the epitome of Green Paint (i.e. phrase in no way strong enough to stand alone). You expect dice to be "fair." When they're not, they're loaded. LOADED DICE is a thing. FAIR DICE ARE JUST DICE. I considered FAIR, but also TRUE, REAL ... what the hell? And MENU PAGES, LOL, no. BOOK PAGES, also no. PAMPHLET PAGES, similarly, no. YELLOW PAGES, yes! LEAFLET PAGES, DICTIONARY PAGES, all no.

Finally somehow figured out IRAQ / SQUIB, and then RIPS, and RIM (29A: Goaltending spot) (really thought "goaltending" was just the act of tending goal, not the specific basketball penalty wherein a player block the downward progress of a shot ball or otherwise interferes with the ball when it's above the RIM) (again, I own that half of the misery of solving this thing was a function of my trying to solve it with sleep in my eyes).  Even stupid little stuff like 16A: Shortly after was killing me. Wanted SOON and ANON and never considered UPON until I got the "P." Just a horrible experience, with very few pleasing highlights. How would I know where a PANAMA hat originated? I'm looking this over and trying to find cleverness, and don't see much of it. It's just hard. Old-school hard. It's a fine enough grid, but unless you're impressed by BEERGARITA, there's not much pleasure here.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. TETANY sounds like something people are going to start naming their daughters in 3, 2, ...

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 7:17 AM  


I like how our constructor, the good dentist, slipped in OPENS WIDE.

I love the cross of MAR and GARITA.

This puzzle provided the hacking-through-the-vines resistance I wish for on Saturdays, and the NW was, for me, particularly brutal. In sections like that I need to call on my cavalry, the Brain Poppers. That is, I wrack my brain, searching for the answer, assuming the answer is in there somewhere and I just can't get to it. The wracking is necessary for beginning to tickle the area where the information lies. Then I go elsewhere in the puzzle, or brush my teeth, or something, and poof! It pops out when my mind is elsewhere, and I quickly fill it in before it goes back into hiding. God bless those Brain Poppers. They often save my Saturdays and awaken an enchanting feeling of magic.

Anonymous 7:18 AM  

Too many difficult names that I needed to Google. I also know about Panama hats, but I don't call them "Panamas". So I was reluctant to fill that in as an answer. Rex's critique reflected my solving experience today, though I did know tetany.

Loren Muse Smith 7:24 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 7:26 AM  

Not too bad for me. Yay. But I almost threw in the towel with the northwest unfinished (hey, @Lewis), but then FIEND jumped out at me. I drink my coffee black (cleaned out a fridge once with Pine Sol – ergo Pine Sol flavored cream for months), but I love me some Coffee Mate once in a blue moon. Lots of sugar, lots of Coffee Mate. It has that chemical yuck/yum factor of Cool Whip and Cheez Whiz. Gummi Bears.

“Capris” before PANAMA. Look. I’m no expert, but imo you gotta be very careful with capris. If you’re built like Audrey Hepburn, you’re good to go. If you’re built more like an D-1 linebacker, just proceed with caution. And while I’m talking about shortish pants… what’s with gauchos or whatever else you wanna call them? I don’t care who you are or how you’re built, I don’t care if I hurt your feelings… go and burn that pair that you wear with boots and think it's kicky. Your friends have been lying to you. I’ve never seen them look good on anyone. Not even a former model.

Now, on to a cap sleeve rant… ok. I’ll spare you.

@Lewis – I was going to ask if we’ve established that DO UP is a dook? I had “doll” there for a bit.

And the flipped things at diners were “flapjacks” at first. I like diners with one-page menus. If there are pages to flip, I panic.

I looked into ZENO’S PARADOX. Hmm. I think I followed about half of it.

I also looked into PRECESS - even watched a YouTube clip on gyroscopic precession - just to make sure I would not in fact understand. I didn’t. But I tell ya – with all the talk of vectors, momentum, force, gyration… I could imagine a startling, menacing dance you’d do after NINE BEERGARITAs.

BEERGARITA was certainly a woe. On so many levels. Like a cowardly boilermaker.

Mirgaritas – make-up cocktails after a huge fight
Feargaritas – drinks quietly mixed in your friend’s parents’ basement as parents sleep and you’re actually a goody-goody but you’re too chicken to speak up
Bleargaritas – fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds
Neargaritas – virgin versions

I enjoyed learning about that paradox and will certainly try to work it into a conversation next week with our physics teacher – some kind of we’re never gonna get to the last day of school deal. Study him discreetly to see if he’s impressed. (@FLAC – I’ve been very open here about scrambling to seem smart because I’m really just pretty average. This commentariat is full of wicked smart people, and so often feel intimidated because I don't understand what some people are talking about. So then I try even harder to justify my presence here.)

Mark Diehl – nice job. I liked your northwest the most. Once I figured it out.

oliver klozoff 7:30 AM  

Easy Saturday. Always start in the SE corner. Several bad entries were painful tho.

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

The phrase is "nouveau riche"... Why nouvelle was used, I have no idea. Is it some sort of word play that a Parisian might understand?

joebloggs 7:40 AM  

No one ever calls them just a Panama

Two Ponies 7:42 AM  

Felt good to finish, felt great to see it challenged Rex.

Confessing to not knowing Rankin is tarnishing your King of the Male Feminists Rex.

Writing Rub Raw made me think of Red Rum and The Shining.

No idea about this Ernst villain. I like it when Bond bad guys have clever names like Yurassis Dragon (or however that is spelled.)

Old school tough is a good way to describe this. Liked it.

Anonymous 7:46 AM  

Not as clued maybe, but MENUPAGES is kinda a thing. I happily blanked on “Michelada” (beer + lime + hot sauce), so didn’t get in my own way on BEERGARITA. I think I’ve seen TETANY before but never PRECESS. Some tough names, but surprisingly my time came in at about 75% of my average. Agree with Rex's “old-school hard” assessment.

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

No one ever calls them Congressowomen.

FLAC 7:55 AM  

This was a very good puzzle. And Rex, it would have been just as difficult at midnight as it was at 5:30 a.m.

@LMS: Your comments are consistently among the most incisive and entertaining on this blog. Please, please don’t sell yourself short.

Glimmerglass 7:56 AM  

I also found this challenging, but I finished in half the time as last Saturday. The NW was hardest for me. COFFEEMATE was what finally broke the log jam (I didn’t know it was Nestle). That finally gave me COBRA (I had been looking for a made-up name, perhaps the tiger’s, whatever that was). Which in turn led to the ridiculous BEERGARITA, and the last letter in TETANY(?), which I have just now looked up and find that muscle spasms (TETANY) can be caused by other deficiencies than calcium. I was looking for bone disease or kidney stones, etc. I often learn stuff from the NYT puzzle on Saturday, sometimes after I give up (but not this week — thank you, COFFEEMATE).

RJ 7:58 AM  

This puzzle killed me today, for many of the same reasons as Rex. There were too many proper names that I didn't know - TOJO, RANKIN, ONEAL, EBAN, ERNST and relying on crosses was equally as difficult - SNAKE instead of COBRA, LOVER instead of FIEND.

I've had little experience with philosophy, so had no idea who ZENO was nor his PARADOX.

I guessed SQUIBS from reading Harry Potter... in HP a squib is a witch/wizard unable to perform magic, so...

I had a difficult time with the cluing for IMNOEXPERT. I kept going with the trust/counting on direction for rely.

Also disappointed with MENUPAGES. Kept looking at DOUP after filling it in and wondering what @Lewis means by dook? I googled it and the best match I could find was "turd", and I have to agree.

@Loren My British uncle started adding coffee mate to his tea (with milk) as he got older. He said it "smoothed it out". and I have to agree. I keep an emergency stash in my cabinet for the day I run out of light cream for my coffee. I hope to never have to use it!

puzzlehoarder 8:01 AM  

I really had my hopes up on seeing the constructors name. After yesterday's medium Friday I was thinking we we're due for a good Diehl Saturday. Unfortunately this one went down 8 minutes faster than yesterday's puzzle.

I didn't first guess 1A but I did so for 11A. The 14D clue went over my head but JOVI and NEVE went right in as quickly as TOJO.That's pretty much what the solve was like in every section. There were things I didn't know and other clues I didn't get on first try but the entire puzzle was laced with so many first guess answers any problem was easily worked around.

One personal advantage I had was with 5D. My job is driving a fire engine for the Chicago Fire Department. I don't think it made much difference though as most people should be well aware that these things all have numbers.

In the construction's notes at xwordinfo he explains that his original submission (which sounded more challenging) was rejected and this was a rewrite. All three of the SE 10 stack entries are debuts which is pretty amazing, especially considering the quality of the crosses. However it didn't add up to a challenging solve. I'd rate this as easy.

Z 8:04 AM  

This one didn’t warm the cockles much. Pretty much what Rex said on answers like MENU PAGES and TRAM ROUTES. And the ese was the kind that makes me feel a little guilty. The Ship is totally meaningless, but three letter composer, Boom - ENO. Israel Prize? Not a clue. But four letter somebody from Israel - Might be Meir but 2001 is too late - let’s try EBAN. These little toe holds that make the longer answers solvable look really impressive to non-solvers, but really it’s more reflex than smarts or knowledge after you do enough puzzles. “Dinars” in the clue, four letters, Oman, Iran, or IRAQ, which works best. No need to actually know which country uses the Dinar as currency. At times ese is like solving in pen, impresses the noobs, no need to let them know it’s all about being to able to see the writing better.

@Tiger yesterday re:duplicate postings - Trust me, that has nothing to do with moderation. You can go back to pre-mod days and find a question answered for the 29th time twelve hours after it was posed.

Riley Cooper 8:13 AM  

He wears tan shoes with pink shoelaces
A polka dot vest and man, oh, man
Tan shoes with pink shoelaces
And a big Panama with a purple hat band

Thanks to Dodie Stevens, I have heard of that style of hat referred to simply as a Panama. Score one for being old.

pabloinnh 8:19 AM  

Hey Rex, welcome to our world. Frustrating puzzle on a Saturday? You bet.

I was delighted to find SQUIB somewhere in the brain attic. What a fun word to say. Was wonderfully self-satisfied to get ZENO'S PARADOX off the OX (nice one about getting half way there, LMS). Some green paint, and I don't think "Nestle product" is much of a clue. They're into so much stuff these days, it could have been "cough drops".

jberg 8:22 AM  

@Loren, head, right. Me, I’m really smart. Smart enough to see what you’re doing with Zeno there.

m 8:29 AM  

Brutal but fair, I "cheated" a bit. Cluing was often vague and/or clever, very challenging. BEERGARITA, TETANY, ZENOSPARADOX, PRECESS, ERNST(Stavro Blofeld). This one ate me up. I was RUBbedRAW so NYAH NYAH to me.

kitshef 8:31 AM  

NW was ‘hard Saturday’, rest was Wednesday. Or more accurately, just in my wheelhouse. OPEN WIDE off the O, ZENOS PARADOX off the Z.

But … never heard of BEERGARITA, don’t think of an ONION BAGEL as a ‘classic’ order, was expecting a jungle book name (like Baloo), and of course ‘TETANY’?! Even ELAND which ought to be easy for me took a long time as contrary to reality I don’t think of them as herd animals.

If Rex would read the blog comments, he’d know PANAMA hats come from Ecuador – we talked about it within the last two months.

One of ZENOS PARADOXes (there were many) said that motion is impossible. Imagine you want to complete the simple task of walking twenty feet. Well, first you must accomplish the task of walking ten feet. And to do that, you must complete the task of walking five feet. To do that, you must walk 2.5 feet. And so on. So you must complete an infinite number of ‘tasks’ in a finite amount of time, which (Zeno says) is impossible. Diogenes is reputed to have countered this argument by standing up and walking away.

jberg 8:32 AM  

I wore my linen suit to church on Sunday, and mentioned to my wife that I’d wear my PANAMA too except that it was raining—so that was a gimme for me. RANKIN too, of course-the only person in Congress to vote against declaring both World Wars. ALEC D’Urberville was purely a guess from -A-C, though, even though I’ve read the book.

It seemed tough, but I knocked it off in half an hour, good time for a Saturday for me.

Only 13 comments when I got here, and two nice humblebrags already—something in the air, I guess. Not criticizing, I admire them.

I actually had sOUP before DOUP, even though it would have to be ‘soup up’ to fit the clue.

QuasiMojo 8:34 AM  

Yikes, I struggled with this one but managed to complete it after cheating on one clue, the Jermaine guy. I don't follow basketball (at least not since Dave DeBusschere's days.) ABBA EBAN was a gimme since he is the epitome of crosswordese.

Wanted BIKINI before PANAMA (even though I knew it WAS named after a location.)

Why CORONA beer if you are making a BEERGARITA? Wouldn't SCHLITZ work just as well since it's the tequila that makes it like a margarita? Maybe CERVESARITA would be cool. Not a very good nonce word or portmanteau if you ask me. (And I know you didn't.)

Cry FOUL not FAIR with COFFEE MATE because it was introduced in 1961 by Carnation, not Nestlé. I see why they chose to use its current owner, so as to throw us off the scent. But that's almost criminal on the first across and downright cruel.

Also NOUVELLE RICHE is a real thing? I have never heard this before. It doesn't even turn up on google.

I'm REDDENing because I actually thought of DOO DOO for #2 before DEPUTY.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed doing today's puzzle even if it had me by the DICE hanging in my BIG RIG.

Bob Swidler 8:36 AM  

Anyone who speaks a modicum of French knows that the phrase is “nouveau riche”. Nouvelle riche simply does not exist.

jberg 8:37 AM  

@Loren-I meant “yeah, right”— can’t seem to delete from my phone or I’d fix it

Court 8:37 AM  

Rex -- what is with the extreme crabbiness lately? I liked being pushed by this puzzle and don't mind that I made three errors around tetany, Tanzania, bergarita. Learning is good.

'mericans in Paris 8:43 AM  

Pretty much what @Lewis said. Took Mrs. 'mericans and I (mainly yours truly, as she had to go off and get her hair trimmed) two hours to complete. I think I entered LOST ___ first, and then DEPUTY (not fit for POLITE discourse for me to say what my first thought was in response to the #2 clue), and Mrs. MiP filled in most of the New England and Middle Atlantic area. Only she ever recalls that crosswordese word, NEWEL.

I then struggled, like @Lewis trying to think through all angles, and then coming back to an area, often erasing my first guesses. Had "mixed drInk", for example, before BEERGARITA, and MENU cArdS long before MENU PAGES. But I REFUSEd to give up, and eventually prevailed, with no cheats and an immediate happy jingle as I entered the last letter.

As for PANAMA, I have one that I bought a couple of years ago, and I have certainly heard it referred to as such.

Answers like TRAM ROUTES and ENGINE NUMBER don't RUB me RAW, nor do they MAR my solving experience. If they are real words, and I can imagine them in a sentence, I prefer them any day to obscure names.

So, in short, congratulations to Mark Diehl, and thanks for the mental workout!

P.S., Regarding the "nouveau" vs. "nouvelle" riche, certainly almost all the instances I can find googling are to the former. We questioned that clue also. My French is not good enough to explain where nouvelle riche comes from, however.

kitshef 8:49 AM  

@RJ - DOOK is a coinage specific to this blog derived from the appearance of the phrase "do O.K." in a puzzle, which in the grid, without spacing or punctuation, reads "dook". It is now applied to any phrase appearing in a puzzle that looks like a word due to the lack of spacing - "do up" to "doup", "go on" to "goon", etc.

Z 8:52 AM  

Examples of “nouvelle”

Off to chase plastic.

Lewis 8:55 AM  

@rj -- A DOOK is an answer that looks like a word that it isn't. It came from the answer DO OK, two words that look like a word that rhymes with nuke, because there is no space between them in the grid. So DO UP, DOUP in the grid, looks like a word that would rhyme with soup or yowp.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

I think RICHE is both the masculine and feminine form of the adjective. Monsieur would be nouveau RICHE but madame nouvelle RICHE? The class, of course, the familiar usage, is the nouveau RICHE.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

tandem=semi-trailer truck with two trailers, i.e., cab-trailer-trailer. So a bigger rig.

Off the grid 9:17 AM  
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BarbieBarbie 9:20 AM  

@LMS, so that you can show your physics teacher colleague that precession is under your belt: picture a top. Easiest if you picture the old-fashioned kind that is just carved out of wood. Now picture yourself spinning it on a table. Watch it what does. It spins around really really fast, but the handle that you spun it by is also moving in a circle much more slowly and eventually that circle gets bigger and bigger and bigger until it so big that the side of the top meets the top of the table and the whole thing falls down. That circle that the handle is going in: that’s precession. You can spin a quarter and see the same thing. It’s very obvious- the quarter is spinning too fast for your eyes to track, so you end up tracking that circle instead, which is the “vertical” axis that the quarter is spinning around, unable to stay vertical, processing. Try it now, everybody. Three times and the word is yours.

Warning: spinning quarters used to drive our border collie crazy.

I enjoyed this puzzle the way @Lewis did. I was convinced I wouldn’t finish- went to bed with about 10% filled in- but after crunching through it this morning it turned out to be faster than average, for a SatPuzz. Bearing in mind that my Saturday times can approach infinity, maybe this isn’t meaningful. In any event, I really enjoyed the brain-stretch. Thanks!

Francoise Brasier 9:25 AM  

I am French and pretty sure I have never seen nouvelle riche in any conrext

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

I guess that it's possible in a hundred years of lumber jacking someone once asked, "What's that fella's job?" And someone answered, "He's a hewer."

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

OFL's take on Green Paint, a “phrase in no way strong enough to stand alone,” strikes me as inadequate. I understand it's his coinage, but in my mind, the arbitrariness of a Green-Paint phrase is of a specific nature—namely it follows from a lack of inherency in the relationship between a noun (or verb) and its modifier and not simply from under representation in “the language.” Paint can be of any color; gold, as a counterexample, is typically classified as being one of a handful of colors. So “green paint” is Green Paint, but “yellow gold” isn’t. I desperately want to cling to this distinction. I suggest that FAIR DICE is rather Dry Paint. Now who’s overthinking!

msh 9:42 AM  

Had to cheat my way through this one.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

Thanks, @BarbieBarbie, for the lucid explication.

Foldyfish 9:47 AM  

BEERGARITA does not pass the breakfast test. Barf.

Mohair Sam 9:55 AM  

That FIEND Mark Diehl didn't beat us this time. His puzzles are always a challenge here, and we love 'em.

For heaven's sake Rex it's a Saturday, don't be such a doup. How can you not love learning BEERGARITA? Those trucks with two (or more) trailers that pass your little car and make you nervous on I81 are called TANDEMS Rex (Hi Anon 9:14). Saw a three trailer tandem piled up in a horrid accident in Ohio (or was it Indiana?) a few years back. They should ban the damned things.

Feminist Rex should be embarrassed at not knowing RANKIN, I remembered her off a couple letters. ALDEN is basic history, and the mix up with Rolfe is a nice trap, just like Meir or EBAN. For some reason I thought everybody knew that PANAMAs aren't. Learned ZENOS PARADOX, TETANY, PRECESS, and SQUIB today - not to mention the hideous sounding BEERGARITA.

Finally - I'm fine with MENUPAGES as non-green paint for two reasons. 1. If you didn't specify PAGES you'd have to flip the entire MENU, which nobody does. 2. Diner menus (I eat at diners a lot) are far longer than regular restaurant menus (snooty places that allow me in frequently have one-pagers), hence page-flipping is common and necessary. I mean, at The Palm there are no pictures of the food like at The Bear Swamp Diner in Macungie, PA - how the hell do you city folks know what's coming?

Have a beergarita on me Mark Diehl, great Saturday puzzle.

G. Weissman 9:57 AM  

Just not enough proper names for me.

Blue Stater 9:58 AM  

Simply dreadful, for all the reasons pointed out above, and more. A stark contrast to yesterday's gem. BEERGARITA indeed....

Birchbark 10:02 AM  

@Lewis, "hacking through the vines resistance" is a perfect descriptor. 50% over typical Saturday, and mostly northwest driven = satisfaction.

Wanted FIfer for FIEND -- "Real enthusiast" as in Real Madrid, ERGO Federation Internationale de Football (FIFA). All that and I'm not even much of a soccer fan.

@LMS, "following half" of ZENO'S PARADOX is a decent description of the paradox. I had xENO for a while, channeling Xena. Guessing the warrior princess would just strike the wall with a sword and be done with the paradox.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

I had the opposite reaction to Rex on this one. Got BEERGARITA immediately, which is definitely a thing. I thought they sounded disgusting until my sister made me one. Surprisingly pleasant actually.

Also, fair dice are not green paint at all. I remember taking math and statistics classes and many of the problems and professors would start a statistics problem with "If you rolled a set of fair dice X number of times..."

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Yes, wonderful puzzle. Wonder why Rex was complaining so much! O, that's right - that's what he does. That's who he is. King of the crossword complaint culture. Yes to wracking followed by remembering and relief!

Nancy 10:06 AM  

Another wonderfully crunchy and engrossing themeless. That's two in a row. My cup runneth over.

Lewis beat me to DOUP being a DOOK. And I almost didn't see it.

I never heard of a BEERGARITA, but it's a terrific coinage, even though it sounds like a perfectly dreadful drink.

Why am I never sure whether that Plymouth Colony guy is going to be John ALDEN or Captain John Smith?

I think all of us were meant to put in anON before UPON at 16A. And I did.

Was also ready to put in TAsmANIA before TANZANIA, but luckily I waited.

Where MENU PAGES goes (31D), I was looking for a flapjack, pancake, omelet, hamburger or pizza. Great clue. And a terrific puzzle all around.

GILL I. 10:07 AM  

Good gravy...Nestle practically owns every food label out there. What to choose from? 1D had me thinking Akela or Baloo but that would be too easy. COBRA finally popped out. COFFEE emerged and then its MATE. I tried it once in desperation and it tastes like chalk to me.
Fits and starts everywhere. Didn't know RANKIN ALDEN ONEAL and hated that they were all piled up in the NW. Went over to visit the east. My first Google (just so that I could start in that section) TOJO. That helped a ton since I went flying on down to the LOST DOG. I always get sad when I see those flyers. I've owned a ton of animals and I've never LOST one. They've disappeared for a while - especially a goat we had named Chichi. She could jump any fence. Her specialty was gettin herself on top of the barn and flying off to land in the field next door. She'd mow that lawn clean but would maa her way back home.
I agree with @Rex today on some of the green paint issues. ENGINE NUMBER felt like it was just sorta tossed to the wild. ONION BAGEL is a tad boring for classic deli order. I'd rather see a pastrami on rye.
BEERGARITA was new to me. Imagine that! Sounds awful. I suppose if you like beer and tequila, that could be your go to drink?
Favorite was ZENOS PARADOX. Don't know what it is and don't care but it has nice letters.
A difficult in some areas puzzle but I enjoyed it in the end.
@Loren...HAH. I wear gauchos all summer long. I don't wear them with boots (gaaah) - just espadrilles of every shape and color. That picture you showed of Melania in her gauchos is awful. You have to wear something flowey with a long silky type blouse. Try it! I might re-try COFFEE MATE!
@Anony 9:25...Thanks for the morning laugh!

Bob Mills 10:08 AM  

Got off to a good start with JEANNETTE RANKIN and JOHN ALDEN, and finished in reasonable time. Only stumbling block was at 49-Down, where I thought he was going for NANA NA-NA (hey hey goodbye). I have no problem with BEERGARITA; Corona is a beer and the other ingredient suggest a margarita, so what's the big deal?

JOHN X 10:10 AM  

Pretty good Saturday puzzle! It didn't give up too easily, but it was "in my wheelhouse" as the cool people around here say . . .

PRECESS was great answer, I remember from fight training a long time ago that a single-engine propeller plane yaws to the right as the nose is raised due to "gyroscopic PRECESSion" - you have to apply left rudder as you pull back on the yoke to maintain heading. So remember that folks.

I never heard BEERGARITA but I have had a "beer margarita" and they're not bad. You take a can of frozen lime concentrate and empty it into a blender. Fill the can with tequila and dump that in the blender. Then a can-full of Mexican beer into the blender, add ice, and hit the button. Blend until it's a Squishy.

Anyone remember the COFFEEMATE commercial from years ago where the guy visits his friend's loaner apartment in San Francisco and tries Coffeemate for the first time? I've searched the Internet for years trying to find it and never have. "Coffeemate, I'm gonna' remember you" is the guy's internal monologue.

I too had VAGUE at 45A, and BIKINI at 37A. MESAS at 44D didn't help, and BOOKED for the clue "Split" at 4D was just kind of odd.

Still, this was pretty good.

TubaDon 10:11 AM  

TOJO and JOVI started it off, and I just had a dental visit this week so OPENSWIDE was a painful reminder. LOSTDOG and PRECESS were gimmees, so the entire lower half went fairly fast but I stalled in the NW after ALDEN and ELAND. I was AGITATEd until I chomped on the ONIONBAGEL. One of the reasons I took an hour to finish was trying to fit in a character name like BALOO or KAA into 1D. Don't drink coffee so 1A was the final entry.

Ace 10:15 AM  

"nouveau rich," a guy or a mass noun; "nouvelle riche," a newly-rich female.

mathgent 10:18 AM  

"Fair dice" is a term commonly used in the study of probability. There are many examples there involving rolling a pair of fair dice. A fair die is one where the probability that each face comes up is exactly 1/6.

I've been to diners with multi-page menus but the biggest menus I've seen are at Cheesecake Factory restaurants. I've been to them all over the country and they all seem to have the same menu, about thirty or forty pages in a kind of binder. They do an excellent job of turning out good food for these hundreds of choices quickly.

Like @Lewis (7:17), I stalled in the NW. Instead of brushing my teeth, I called in The Closer. She got shelled the night before, but last night she came through with ONIONBAGEL and ENGINE NUMBER.

A fine Saturday. Tough but a bit dull.

Harryp 10:25 AM  

This one certainly humbled me. I met my first centrifuge when I was 17. I learned to operate, clean, and repair it. It wasn't till last night that I learned the word PRECESS! Another woe was TE_TANY. I had BEERGARI_A and still couldn't parse it. Had MESA for way too long at 44Down for way to long before getting CACTI, but by that time I should have walked away for a while, since I was RUBBED RAW. Googled PARADOX, and DNF.

Teedmn 10:26 AM  

I'd say 90% of Rex's woes were mine also. But I got my start at TOJO and ran down the east side until the _OU_ at 38A stopped me cold. And that __BR__ for "redden". That was a nice aha when I got that and started the ball rolling again.

But with WIND__ in at 42D, I put in WINDow. The WINDow of opportunity could be a start or a stop when it closes...but I didn't WIND UP leaving that because I'M NO EXPERT saved me there. Irony is so sweet.

Anyone else think of PAjAMA at 37A (I did put that down, yes I did.)

But that still left the NW to go. _________MA_E, a Nestlé product. Now I am a sugar hound and I'm pretty sure I have eaten most every candy ever sold since 1960 and I couldn't come up with any chocolate product that conformed to the letters in my grid. I finally gave in to the BEERGARITA, saw FIEND and that led me home. COFFEE MATE, I have never used it, but a jar of the stuff sat on my parents' kitchen countertop for ages.

Tough, and lots of names I didn't know but I succeeded with this one, albeit in a MERE 34 minutes, so I won't SQUIBble; thanks Mark Diehl for the chance to learn PRECESS and for the TUNE clue.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Blog moderators -- Can you please get rid of that vile troll, @Off the grid? Once you do, you're welcome to zap this comment too.

GILL I. 10:31 AM  

@Mohair. Laughed at your MENU PAGES diner story - especially the one pager $$$$$. I'm intimidated up the ying yang when I see a menu without prices. Well, actually I've only seen one in my entire life and it was in New York and my dad was paying for it so I wasn't too worried.
Your diner story reminds me of the Moonlight cafe in Glenside, PA. I wonder if it's still around. I used to go there for breakfast and sometimes for a late snack. The waitresses were of the Flo variety and sweet as hell. It was better than your neighborhood bar!
Here in Sacramento there aren't that many. Mostly taqueria type places. they're delicious as well, but you don't get that real homey feel.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

Rubbish puzzle imho. Too much obscurity. The very concept of a Beergarita is an abomination. Just because you can Google it doesn't mean it is commonplace enough to warrant inclusion. Do you know someone who drinks them on a regular basis? Any local watering holes known for their beergaritas? No?

Perhaps I had heard of the Israel Prize, but of the 17 awarded in 2001, 4 recipients had four letter surnames. That is just unfair.

Who can name the two countries merged into Tanzania in 1964? Zanzibar and Tanganyika are the answers, if you haven't looked it up yourself.

I had seen Jeannette Rankin's name about a week ago, but couldn't remember it for the life of me today.

I had Ono for Eno. Don't really care for ether one and just wanted to believe Yoko was still actively writing for some reason. Figured out my mistake without really understanding the answer.

There's a lot to complain about with this puzzle, but the one that really gets my ire is nouvelle riche. As others have already noted, that is simply a mistake and there is no excuse for that. Nouvelle cuisine was the only thing that came to mind and it obviously did not work.

TJS 10:36 AM  

I loved this one just for the difficulty level, even if I could have done without menu pages, etc. I dont let a couple of answers or clues spoil my over-all appreciation of the authors' efforts. Ofcourse I am not interested in timing myself, which I think can really skew the enjoyment of some of the responders here. Different strokes, I guess.

I have a question, no malice intended. Do people who comment on their string of successful solves include the ones where they Googled for answers ? Just askin.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

The phrase is nouveau riche. Nouvelle riche is just wrong, a grammatical aberration. That clue absolutely ruined my Saturday morning. I can't believe nobody caught this before it went to print .

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

I can't remember seeing so much contrived and contorted junk in one puzzle...

Amelia 10:43 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
phil phil 10:44 AM  

I plopped down TRAM lenses. And said just made that up and felt as smart as the first guy who named those track cameras....
Wrong i was the first, the other guy was the ZEROTH.

Nouvelle nICHE eventually did me in DOUP was unknown so couldn’t guess the PARADOX of it all. Not bad anyway too tough.

RavTom 10:51 AM  

"And a big Panama with a purple hat band." Dodie Stevens, "Pink Shoe Laces" (1959)

What's a hammer for? 11:06 AM  

"Fix a flat for" =/= TUNE.

There is so much wrong with that it's laughable. Just because the word "flat" and "tune" appear close together, doesn't mean it's connected. If my clarinet is flat, I tune it. I can think of absolutely no context in which someone might ask or say that I tuned my clarinet by "fixing a flat for." "What did you fix a flat for?" The answer to that, of course, is because it's flat.

Perhaps it's because when something is "flat," that's an adjective? Maybe it's because of that dangling "for?"

Tonight, before my concert, I'm going to ask everyone to "fix a flat for." We'll see if they start tuning or if they will just look at me blankly and wonder what the hell I'm talking about.

Carola 11:19 AM  

Loved TUNA MELT next to OPENS WIDE, although I'd probably go for an ONION BAGEL first. I thought this puzzle was full of treats, and on the "just right" level for a Saturday. Like others, I found my way in with TOJO x JOVI -->TANZANIA --> ZENO'S PARADOX and a clockwise sweep around to a finish at COFFEEMATE x FIEND. Luckily I remembered RANKIN; the cross with EBAN was enough to crack open the NW.
@Lewis, thank you for that MAR-GARITA! Priceless.

Teedmn 11:21 AM  

@LMS, your comment on ZENO'S PARADOX (I kept thinking it might be ZENO'S PARaDes while solving, which is definitely reductio ad absurdum) led me to read about it (them) on Wikipedia. And Zeno can argue with me till the turtles come home but I have been passed by cyclists on the road as if I were the unmoving arrow, so QED. But I can see making an argument for the Dichotomy paradox applying to the last day of school. Nice analogy!

Outside The Box 11:22 AM  

Whew, made it through this one. I fell into some of assumptions and traps Rex did, but c’mon, if you know any history at all you’ve got to know who Abba Eban was.

Had dust rag, then dust bin for janitor’s item, but finally got dust pan.

Had “I’m no use” for count me out until a few crosses helped me get “I refuse.”

Difficult but fun puzzle.

Nancy 11:25 AM  

Oh, dear. I forgot John Rolfe. That makes three of them I can't tell apart (see my 10:06 comment.) Thanks for complicating my life even more, @Mohair.

Love your Diogenes story, @kitshef (8:31). Love your pet goat remembrances, @GILL (10:31). Love your HEWER comment, @Anon 9:25.

The good thing about muting commercials, @Quasi (8:34), is that I would never be thrown off the scent by knowing that Carnation, not Nestle, introduced COFFEE MATE. The bad thing is that I didn't know COFFEE MATE in the first place.

Could using NOUVELLE RICHE perhaps be more of an insult (and more of a noun) when applied to a woman? "He/She/They're NOUVEAU RICHE" as opposed to "Let me tell you, she's a real NOUVELLE RICHE! The French speakers on this blog say it's never used in any context, but it seems that that might be a possibility. For emphasis. Or maybe it's just a bush-league mistake by the NYT crossword department.

GHarris 11:31 AM  

Weirdly, I got most of the answers that so troubled Rex and others, including Tojo, O’Neal, Eban, Panama, menu pages coffeemate etc. Still was not able to finish, undone by the likes of tetany and Zenos Paradox. Didn’t help myself by refusing to change I resign to refuse (even though I knew 5down had to be engine number) and transcribing 53 across as copied over.. C’est la nouveau vie.

Melrose 11:37 AM  

Tough, esp SE corner. I, too, have never heard of nouvelle riche; should be nouveau. Loved beergarita, a new one on me.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

If anyone from the NYT reads this blog:

I am getting fed up. Really, really fed up. The NW corner was chock full of obscure names, and I say that having gotten Eban correct. This is becoming the norm.

I don't object to a DNF based on my own failure to be able to work out clever clues etc, but I see little point in doing one puzzle after another that stump me because of obscure proper names.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Some interesting obscurities. Lots of questionable stuff. Hard. Not much fun.

Whatsername 11:42 AM  

A big rig would become a tandem when hauling two trailers at once. Tetany was also a new one for me, as was beergarita. I have enjoyed plenty of Corona and Jose Cuervo in my day but never ever heard of such a thing. However, apparently a lot of people have because upon a Google search, I found that even Betty Crocker has a recipe for it. If summer ever gets here, I may just try one. I hope it does not result in my becoming a tope (the one I had to google yesterday).

floatingboy 11:45 AM  

Also couldn't shake VAGUE for "Nouvelle ____." When I finally did, then the SE fell. I had "COPIED OVER" because that was the closest I could come up with to "Transcribe." Transcription isn't copying. It's changing the form of something. From one language or alphabet to another, from oral to written form.

If I'd just known ZENOS PARADOX I'd've been good. Had ZENOS and couldn't for the life of me figure out the rest. All in all, agree with Rex, tough without the payoffs.

Malsdemare 11:49 AM  

A rarity for me; I agree with Rex. I fought this everywhere he did (or almost) though I'm sure it took me lots longer. TETANY, FAIRDICE, PRECESS, had me screaming at my iPad. TANDEMS I got after a bit, remembered Barbara RANKIN but only after I had KIN, TANZANIA took forever to see, and I wanted writtenDOWN so bad that I could not see my way to COPIED. I always forget about those sports DRAFTs so even though I knew it was NBA, the rest just escaped me.

This was a real DNF; I cheated about six different times. But there wasn't much fun when I saw answers like TETANY; just total bemusement and worse.

Okay, OPENWIDE was fun.

FrankStein 11:53 AM  

So far I haven’t seen any defenses from the connaisseurs regarding “nouvelle riche.” The only way I can imagine it being used is in a literary sense. As pertaining to a short novel or roman. If Balzac had written a “nouvelle riche en détails.”

Whatsername 11:56 AM  

@BarbieBarbie at 9:20 - thank you for your explanation of the precess process. How simple and yet fascinating.

Biff Gnarly 12:00 PM  

First thing that actually occurred to me was ONION bialy, not sure why. Not sure if bialys are really a thing outside of NY either.

Doesn't usage of minor characters from movies generally get dumped on? How significant was the COBRA in Jungle Book? While sort of an easy answer to infer given it was India and all I really had to struggle to remember if there was a COBRA in the movie at all. Kaa (Indian python) is obviously the snake with the leading role.

Surprised it took so long for somebody to explain to Rex what a TANDEM was. It's really the triples that scare me on the highway.

My French is not great, but I think Nouvelle RICHE is defensible on paper as explained by the gender flexibility of RICHE, but is hardly ever said in reality. English terms that are valid but never used appear in the puzzle more often than I'd like also.

As far as the validity of some of the words, I'm going to vote that FAIR DICE is a very real thing in certain contexts, but I say fail for MENU PAGES and BEERGARITAS (and I eat several times a week at the Mexican restaurant across the street from my house and often spend my vacations in Baja racing desert cars).

Big J 12:09 PM  

Hi Y,all

Had Helmet for Engine when Station wouldn't fit. Finally groked Coffeemate And put in engine in, Which straightened out the NW for me. Really an Enjoyable, but Tough, solve.

Got Tandem, But thought it reffered to the double axles on the cab.

Bob Rosen 12:16 PM  

Yup, good hard fun. Thought menu pages was brilliant after cycling through flapjacks and some kind of cakes (mini cakes?). Guess Rex has never been to one of those Greek diners with the laminated 20+ page menus.

QuasiMojo 12:19 PM  

Isn’t “tandem rigs” a fishing term?

Masked and Anonymous 12:24 PM  

Tough NW. Rest of it was pretty reasonable, for a SatPuz. This puz has PANGRAMY = {Condition caused by abnormal consonant levels}.

Back to the NW:
BEERGARITA/TETANY crossin area was a real nanosecond-sucker. RANKIN/ONEAL seem like nice enough folks, but I've never had the pleasure. And I somehow ain't seein COBRA as a "beast". Beast is either a big, four-legged critter, or @Z. All I could nail down initially in the NW was ELAND and ALDEN. Ergo, fearin nanosecond-ageddon, M&A immediately peeled out, er-go-ing over to the friendly NE corner. Avoided comin Back to the NW, at all costs, until the bitter solvequest tailend.

Finished NW easily, after a helpful visit to the M&A Research Desk library.

There be more U's than weejects, here! staff weeject pick (of only 4): RIM. Mostly becuz its clue was slightly most interestin of the 4.

Best ow de speration fill: HEWER. Overall, I thought the fill was darn near spanky clean.

Thanx for the hardcore fun, Dr. Diehl.

Masked & Anonym007Us

@Lewis might weLL aPProve of this little biter:

Ian 12:27 PM  

The NW corner was very hard for me. Who orders a bagel at a deli?

Also, if you’re going to clue Jungle Book I’m going to start looking for character names that fit, like Baloo or Louie. That clue for COBRA may as well have just said “some animal that I’m thinking of.”

Warren Howie Hughes 12:29 PM  

I certainly tend to agree Rex, that TETANY sounds like something extremely Contagious and is sure to Catch On as a girls name! :-)

John Hoffman 12:32 PM  

I’ve done well with the Saturday puzzles for the past few months but I couldn’t touch this one.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

The reason the correct term is "nouveau riche," and not "nouvelle riche" is that the word "riche," when used as a noun, is masculine, and the adjective modifying it must therefore also be in the masculine form. The term "riche" is most commonly used as an adjective, but it is also used as a masculine noun too mean "rich person." The following appears at Larousse.fr:

"riche n.m. Personne qui possé une grande fortune, des biens importants." ("riche, masculine noun, a person who has a large fortune, considerable property.")

Warren Howie Hughes 12:37 PM  

John Hoffman, "Hoffman is the Finest!" Soda speak! ;-)

Albert A. Barbieri, Jr. 12:41 PM  

Panama hats originated in Ecuador, as I learned in the 6th grade unit on South America.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

Firesign Theatre 1969

Babe decides to take the Antelope Freeway but drives straight into Zeno’s Paradox…
“Antelope Freeway, 1 mile.”
“Antelope Freeway, 1/2 mile.”
“Antelope Freeway, 1/4 mile.”
“Antelope Freeway, 1/8 mile.”
“Antelope Freeway, 1/16 mile.”
“Antelope Freeway, 1/32 mile.”
“Antelope Freeway, 1/64 mile.”

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

"Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author.
Choose an identity."
If only it were that easy.

Kimberly 1:09 PM  

Beergaritas are vomitously common in so cal. I see them on people’s tables way too often, with that small beer bottle on a holder over the margarita glass, inverted, draining disgusting cheap beer into a perfectly fine margarita. Sad, sad world.

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

Elle est nouvelle RICHE. Sometimes crossword clues are difficult and misleading on purpose. Often on a Saturday, answers may well be something you’ve never heard of.

anon 1:19 PM  

“Fair dice” is a term with a precise definition in mathematics; the clue and the answer are good Saturday fare.

Rick 1:25 PM  

An alternate clue for 34A would be "Temper": IRE FUSE

Adam Frank 1:29 PM  

I enjoyed this more than @Rex - once I figured out "MENU PAGES" (which I thought was pretty clever and is definitely a thing) I was on my way. Started with ERNST. Wanted RICHE, but the phrase is "Nouveau riche", not "nouvelle" (Google it). Had DUSTMOP but finally figured it out. The NW was the most difficult for me - probably because I confused the Jungle Book with the Lion King and put HYENA in for 1D. But finally saw BAGEL, realized it was ONION (I originally thought PLAIN), and that was that.

@Rex - Abba Eban - very famous guy, even outside of Crossworld.. Loved the clue for TUNE, although I thought it might have to do with A flat (rather than a generic flat). Finished more quickly than my normal Saturday. But then again I solved it after I woke up and had coffee, so that's a bit of an advantage. :)

Hungry Mother 1:33 PM  

I was stuck with sUSTPAN for a while because of sloppy proofreading. I should just slap myself in the forehead at the start to wake me up. Fun puzzle with some cool answers. My grandkids both received gyroscopes last week, so PRECESS was easy. It helps to be grounded in Mathematics and Science.

Hungry Mother 1:42 PM  

Good explanation of precession: http://www.astro.cornell.edu/academics/courses/astro201/earth_precess.htm.

Robso 1:46 PM  

This one had a hungry-NBA-fan feel to it. Had to put this down and come back, when I saw COPIED DOWN and the SE corner finally fell.
BEERGARITA? No thanks.

BarbieBarbie 1:58 PM  

Anon@1244, LOVE the FS memory!! Coincidentally, last night as I took my first stab at this puzzle I commented that the only proper name not in it was Regnat Kcin! Now that’s weird.

Can’t edit my earlier comment but that last autocorrected “processing” should be “precessing.” Duh.

TJS@1036, I think the DNF standard varies with whatever the solver feels is fair. In my case, if I have to google to get an answer, it’s a DNF. And “confirmation googling” before I finish is only OK if it doesn’t change anything. Well actually- for that one I’ve been considering that I finished, but it doesn’t feel good, so that line may move. Interesting question. Thanks for bringing it up.

retired guy 2:01 PM  

@1:13 The question comes down to whether "riche" as a noun is always masculine, or whether it can be feminine as well. Something for the Academie Francaise to consider...

With respect to Zeno's paradox, I'm not sure that it should be regarded as a "reduction ad absurdum" as the clue suggests. Zeno was trying to support Parmenides's view that motion is an illusion -- his point was to show that our common-sense notions of "motion" simply don't make sense. Btw, modern day quantum mechanics also has some strange things to say about our common-sense notions of motion.

Moly Shu 2:06 PM  

@What's a hammer for? Not everyone who plays an instrument can tune it. Take for example, oh I don’t know, the piano. So if a key on my piano was flat, I’d call the piano tuner and guess what? He would FIX A FLAT FOR me.
sOUP first and MENUcArdS had me flailing but NBADRAFT fixed it. I also had mesas before CACTI, you know, the one where Wile E buys rocket powered roller skates and an anvil from ACME and then chases the roadrunner. Yea, mesas.
TANDEMS and RANKIN, really @Rex? Kinda surprised you didn’t know those.

Cheerio 2:07 PM  

I was sure Rex was going to complain that this was far too easy for a Saturday. I thought yesterday's puzzle was much harder. Interesting. I enjoyed the puzzle, but crossword experience helped me more than it usually does. Eland, Tojo, Alden, Newel, Panama, bolo, Eno.... Enjoyed Zeno's paradox, but what is absurd about it? It's just a teaching illustration.

Charles Flaster 2:14 PM  

Easy medium .
Hard for first five minutes then OPENS WIDE OPENed everything up.
Three write overs—TUNE for reNt,
then my favorite IM NO EXPERT for IM NOt smaRT.
Favorite clue was for RUB RAW.
Thanks MD

Charles Flaster 2:19 PM  

Forgot to mention PISA was the winning answer in my Tuesday night trivia contest. How ironic!

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

@Charles Flaster 2:19 I'm not sure you know what "ironic" means.

Junief 3:01 PM  


Lewis 3:08 PM  

@m&a -- Two things. One, you continue to be funny as hell. I laughed out loud several times reading your post. Two, terrific runtpuz, and yes, it caught my alphadoppeltottin' eyes!

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

I usually love your blog. I agree that this was a challenging and at times frustrating puzzle. I had to look up a lot of answers but I just started being able to solve Sat.

You'll prob never see this, but I'm disappointed that you would say you should have known John Alden but didn't mention anything about Jeanette Rankin except that you didn't know who she was. The first female congresswoman is REALLY something you should know.

sanfranman59 3:17 PM  

You're in fine form today, Loren. Thanks for a few smiles this fine Saturday.

retired guy 3:26 PM  

Jeannette Rankin is of interest not only as the first female member of Congress, but also as the only member of Congress to vote against the declaration of war against Japan on December 8, 1941. Strangely enough, her only other term in Congress was in 1917-18, during which term she voted against entry into World War II (on that occasion, she was not the sole 'no' vote.)

sanfranman59 3:29 PM  
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sanfranman59 3:32 PM  

I think @Lewis owes @Kitshef a Coke.

sanfranman59 3:34 PM  

@Court 8:37 ... Lately?

MetroGnome 3:36 PM  

Ah, glorious misspent youth -- I was introduced to Zeno's Paradox through the legendary Firesign Theater album "How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere At All?" during the bit where our intrepid hero is driving along a freeway in L.A. (natch!) and the road signs are telling him that the next exit will be in "one mile . . ." "1/2 mile . . ." "1/4 mile . . ." "1/16 mile . . ." all the way up to "1/512 mile" or so before he finally gets frustrated and takes another route.

Anonymous 3:39 PM  

Any Lego fan would tell you they are not called blocks but bricks. Better editing needed Will.

JC66 3:48 PM  


Anonymous 3:48 PM  

@junief - my guess was that "mir" is the Russian word for "peace." btw, also for "world."

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

Had two missing letters in 1A at the end. Thought I finally cracked it with "coffee cake"; seemed like a reasonable Nestle product. Alas...coffeemate. Is that creamer or something you find in the dairy section?

flybal 3:54 PM  

Torchy's Tacos serves a Pegleg a Margarita with a small bottle of Corona (a coronita) turned upside down in the glass. First saw this 6 months ago ordered by some 20 year olds. Torchy is from Austin TX spreading to a mall by you he hopes. Precession is what an aircraft Direction Gyro does when it gets out of sync with the wet compass. Just reach down and reset it. its allowed to precess 2 or 3 degrees every 5 minutes or something like that. Pegleg rita fit but must be UNPC

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

Anon @1:13, "nouveau," as used in your example, does not modify "elle" ("she" is not "new"), but rather "riche"(i.e. she is a "newly rich person") which is why the phrase is "nouveau riche."

Mohair Sam 4:06 PM  

@Gill I (aka Beaver College Flash) - Yup, the Moonlight Diner is still there on Limekiln Pike. Never eaten there but have driven by it a lot on my way to golf at LuLu Country Club, roughly as far north of the Moonlight as you were south at Beaver (now Arcadia). And yes, all wait staff at Eastern PA diners are trained at the Flo School - great folks.

Lewis 4:42 PM  

@sanfran -- Because???

sanfranman59 4:51 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:21 4:18 1.01 53.3% Medium
Tue 6:17 5:37 1.12 72.0% Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:29 6:00 0.91 36.0% Easy-Medium
Thu 7:59 10:01 0.80 22.1% Easy-Medium
Fri 23:07 13:23 1.73 95.3% Very Challenging
Sat 27:32 16:06 1.71 96.5% Very Challenging

Posting so late, I'm sure hardly anyone will read this, but I want to compliment this blogs commenters. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through the comments this morning and lol-ed several times. It seems that good puzzles beget good comments, irrespective of OFL's curmudgeonly nature.

I solved this late last night before hitting the sack. Note to self: Don't attempt a Mark Diehl Saturday when you're dead tired at bedtime. I should know better. He's among my crossword constructor nemeses, in the same league as Jeffrey Wechsler (odd, since I don't really struggle with his LAT puzzles), Byron Walden, Andrew Zhou and Jacob Stulberg.

I don't think this was as tough as I made it, but there were some real head-scratchers for me:

- NW: BEERGARITA, TETANY and, embarrassingly, RANKIN
- SE: DO UP, RUB RAW, CNOTE ("Hundo"?) and, especially, RICHE

I don't know languages at all and am glad to know that nouvelle RICHE is a stretch at best and an out-an-out editing error at worst.

I also had a few write-overs that didn't help at all: 'NBA final' before NBA DRAFT (49A), anON before UPON (16A), 'DUST mop' before DUST PAN (38D), saWER before HEWER (47D).

But my biggest brain cramp was getting TAsmANIA stuck in my head. I simply couldn't come up with TANZANIA and that prevented me from seeing ZENO. This Bachelor of Philosophy diploma holder is ashamed and I'm blaming my soporific state while solving. In my defense, the degree was 37 years ago and I never took a class in the philosophy department. Nonetheless, the liberal arts program I completed conferred a B.Phil.

Excellent puzzle. Bad solving.

sanfranman59 4:55 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eddy 4:59 PM  

DUSTy Springield
DUST in the wind

sanfranman59 5:15 PM  

@Lewis ... When I was a lad, if someone said the same thing as someone else at about the same time, whoever said "Coke" first, won a Coke. I was commenting about your nearly-simultaneous-with-Kitshef explanation of dook. This is one of the downsides to comment moderation.

Anonymous 5:53 PM  

@Anon 3:58 - I'm trying to work from the assumption that the editors were correct in cluing RICHE the way they did. I wonder if one explanation might be that RICHE is a substantivized adjective, and therefor subject to legitimate genderization. The question is well beyond the scope of my high school French!

OISK 6:26 PM  

Two really fine puzzles this weekend; only "smush" crossing an acronym has marred this fine week of puzzles. Got stuck in the NW like many others, until "forked" and "fiend" popped in. I'm no expert, but in my Rankin', this is one of the better Saturday puzzles.

@Amelia - The grand slam was for the right team as far as I am concerned!

Enjoyed this one very much. I enjoy figuring out an answer even where I have never heard of the term. I have never heard of a beergarita, which sounds awful, but I had Beerga___a. "rit" just sounded right.

Nitpicking. I don't consider the NBA Draft to be a sports event. It is a sports RELATED event. I know, silly quibble, but the GAMES are the sports events...

jae 6:28 PM  

I’m with the NW tough rest not too bad contingent. Liked it more than @Rex did but I does remind me of “older” puzzles. I’m currently working on the Sat. Jan. 15, 2000 by Matt Gaffney. It’s loaded with obscure names and a couple of words in the spirit of TETANY.

@Quasi - I think Corona was the reason the clue had an e.g. at the end.

Stanley Hudson 6:38 PM  

@John X, I remember that old CoffeMate ad, and believe the actor was Jim Davis who would later play Jock Ewing on “Dallas.”

You might find this of interest. https://groups.google.com/forum/m/#!topic/alt.tv.commercials/HLWr5rDA3HM

bruce 8:46 PM  

My problem with "onion bagel" is that it is not an order. It's a "classic deli side". An onion bagel with a schmeer is an order. Never heard of beergarita either, but I don't drink much. Also agree that "nba draft" is not, per se, a sports event.

Charley 9:12 PM  

This was total BS. Garbage.

dm3000 10:17 PM  

Good job, Diehl. Loved this. Saturdays should be slots, not 2 minute solves.

Z 10:35 PM  

@sanfranman59 - Duplicate comments are not a result of moderation. We had them all the time BM.

Regarding NOUVELLE riche, I’d like to believe that French speakers have evolved enough to recognize that having “riche” be only a masculine noun is sexist. I doubt it, but I’d still like to believe it.

JOHN X 1:41 AM  

@Stanley Hudson 6:38PM

HA HA! That link led to the commercial, and hard to find it apparently was! Thanks!

George Schade 7:03 AM  

Tandem is also used in the trucking industry to describe pulling two trailers with one tractor. It is a state by state policy wether to allow that configuration on the road (or at least it was back in the 60’s when I first learned of this). The NY Stae throughway would have signs posted at the entry ramps stating that tandems were not allowed and you would see trailers parked in a lot waiting for pickup.

Lewis 10:26 AM  

@sanfran -- Ah! I thought that might be it, but I wasn't sure. Thanks for the explanation.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

@Junief "mir" means "peace" in Russian.

Mickey C 1:49 PM  

Is that true, Rex? You really should visit the Roscoe Diner — about an hour from where you live. While there, you can visit the local RR museum and the fly-fishing museum in Livingston Manor.

Dawn 10:24 PM  

DNF without Googling nearly all the names. A diner theme could have been fun, but this one fell flat. Random factoid: Precession is actually an interesting phenomenon...this is why Vega was the closest thing to a pole star 12,000 years ago, while Polaris is the Earth’s pole star now.

Burma Shave 10:32 AM  


I’MNOEXPERT to gloat, but IREFUSE UPON pride


rondo 11:01 AM  

INKFEST NW. My real enthusiast was a maven/houND/FIEND; got the D from ALDEN which left me choosing hyenA as a beast before COBRA. And yes, DOUP is a dook. ERNST a gimme for Bond fans.

A BEERGARITA is not polluting your tequila as mentioned above, rather polluting your BEER. IREFUSE.

TANDEMS are big rigs if you mean TANDEM trailers. The more common usage is for TANDEM axles, which are not so very big.

Speaking of trucks, it’s hard to remember the CB days so IMNOEXPERT, but I’m sure ours was a COBRA. I was thinking NINEteen was the emergency channel, but I guess that’s where to listen to truckers spot a DEPUTY. Forty years of non-use will fade the memory, I guess. Shoulda COPIEDDOWN the popular channels.

No doubt about yeah baby NEVE Campbell. And woulda preferred pro golfer Judy RANKIN.

Easier S and E than N and W, so the NW is where I did WINDUP.

spacecraft 11:09 AM  

IMNOEXPERT, but I must be getting better at this. I did manage to finish sans help, with only a writeover at NEWEL (risEr). Once again, a towering triumph factor.

Shoehorned (literally: at the very heel of the puzzle) my way in with my old pal ERNST, being a Bond FIEND. Slowly meandered around the board until...why do I always WINDUP in the NW? Along the way, I noted my exception to the clue for 31-down. Many menus have PAGES, of course, but a diner?? They can usually stuff all their fare onto one double-sided card. W.S. really should've excised the word "diners" and substituted "restaurants." Of course, that would remove the double-up with the clue for 11-down. Oh well.

There I was, staring at the blank NW. The firehouse thing? I had NUMBER, of course, but what? Wanted STATION, but that's one letter too many. ENGINE, really? Come to think, I did hear that before. Old TV series: "Emergency!" Station 51, ENGINE...yeah, okay.

"Split" can lead to a myriad of words, but when I finally got COFFEEMATE and put FORKED in, I recalled RANKIN's name. who knew about Jermaine ONEAL? Too late in the week for Shaq, I guess. There was a Jermaine Greer, wasn't there? I almost wrote that in; glad I didn't.

Outside of that MENU clue, I thought this was pretty much FAIRDICE, with clean fill and brain-exercising clues. Graced by the appearance of DOD NEVE Campbell, this grid gets an eagle.

thefogman 1:42 PM  

That was a hard one for me too. DNF because I had RiNKIt and ONEiL at 19A and 6D. It took me a lot longer than usual to WIND UP even for a Saturday puzzle. Stuff like BEERGARITA might be popular among the frat crowd but is completely out of my wheelhouse. Frankly I'm a little surprised I only had two errors.

Diana,LIW 2:03 PM  

The last few days I thought of looking under my bed to see if my brains had rolled there - but it's a waterbed, and even I knew that couldn't be.

Then I hit this puzzle. One after the other I would WINDUP where they were going. I'll admit I looked up a couple names first to be certain (ONEAL vs. Greer), but then - whammmmmmmooooo!

And reading @Rex - he must wake up with his brains under his bed - the stuff he never heard of boggled my mind. Really? TANDEMS? RANKIN? EBAN?

IMNOEXPERT, but it really is nice to see one stumble (and not fall) when I had such an easy ish (and I do mean ish) time. Stuff (ONIONBAGEL) just kept falling in line for no good reason.

And yes - DOUP is a DOOK if ever there lived one in DOOKDOM.

Diana, All good things come to those who Wait

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

It seems almost everyone including Rex found this difficult. Glad it was not just me. It seems the NW part of the puzzle was especially difficult of all of us. That is where I need to look up most of the answers in this. Misery loves company.


leftcoastTAM 2:34 PM  

Rex says it all, and then some.

Just not tuned into this puzzle's channel (NINE?) at all. Very discouraging, even nasty, experience.

Please, no mas.

rainforest 3:28 PM  

I like this type of puzzle. Looks impossible at first blush, but with a couple gimmes, perseverance, and some luck I crawled to the finish with nary a write-over.

Breakthroughs included ZENOS PARADOX, TANDEMS, and OPENS WIDE. I think the Bond guy played GOLDFINGER, no?

Fist entries were NEWEL, LOBS, and LEGO, enough to grab a toehold in the East. Perseverance comes when I envision a possible answer but look ahead to whether the later letters might work. That was the case with afghan which I shelved before PANAMA, nhl before NBA, and akela before COBRA (did he not have a name?).

My lucky guesses were PISA and TANZANIA which gave up the PARADOX.

Like others, I ended up in the NW which came almost letter by letter, revealing RANKIN and TETANY, both unknown to me.

Took a long time, but I have to say it was worth it.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

No, the German actor Gert Frobe played Goldfinger. Blofeld was another bad guy in many Bond novels and films and has been played by several actors including Donald Pleasance.

strayling 6:53 PM  

I loved this one. To me, a good hard crossword is one which is virtually impossible to solve clue by clue. You have to widen your gaze to several and solve them all at once, because that's the only way to reconcile the ambiguities in the clues. Very challenging, but much fun.

thefogman 7:06 PM  

Nobody will see this but I'll ask anyhow. What is the meaning behind the answer to 14D ONEA(suited to serve). I solved it via the crosses but I still don't get it. Just a guess...Does it have something to do with serving a jail sentence?

Anonymous 7:26 PM  

Wait a minute. The NBA Draft is a sports event ? I guess it's an event about picking a member for your sports team but I wouldn't call it a sports event. How much basketball is played at a draft ? None. Learned a lot of new words that I'll probably never use again except maybe to solve a Mark Diehl puzzle. Put nouveau into a search engine and you get nouveau riche. Put nouvelle into it and you won't see riche. Editor was out to lunch ? Many more examples of head scratching but Rex summed it all up very well. On to Sunday.

kitshef 8:17 PM  

@thefogman - it dates back the days when we had a military draft. 1-A (or ONE A, if we must), meant that you were eligible to serve and had no restrictions on your eligibility.

Joe in Newfoundland 10:17 PM  

Syndication land here. Nouvelle riche is clearly wrong. If the noun RiCHE is grammatically masculine then it is impossible. French does not work like indication, and using a masculine noun to describe a woman leaves the noun grammatically masculine. If the word "RICHE" is an adjective, then nouvelle riche is possible as described above. But it is not a matter of Saturday-level difficulty, it is a matter of using just two random words together that could be found in a literary text, just as the words "ripe banana" could. I put in ANNEE at first, but the puzzle-maker could easily have put "nouveau" as the clue, and been correct. Mistakes like this are disheartening as they help destroy the trust I have in the editor to keep things reasonable.

rondo 10:48 PM  

@foggy - exactly what @kitshef said re: ONEA. On the opposite end of the service spectrum is/was 4-F; not suitable/suited to serve. I was ONEA during the Nam draft, my NUMBER was not low enough to be called.

Yes, somebody will see and answer in syndiland.

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